The Pony Express Stations of Utah in Historical Perspective
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THE STATIONS (continued)

Fish Springs (Smith Springs, Fresh Springs)
Utah No. 21 Contract Station


Location: NW1/4NE1/4 Section 23, Township 11 South, Range 14 West, Salt Lake Meridian.

Ten miles from Blackrock Station.

J.H. Simpson placed two mail stations in this area: the one at Fish Springs first used by Chorpenning and another about three and one-quarter miles north at Warm Springs (See Figure 26). [45] The station at Warm Springs was apparently abandoned because of bad water.

Figure 26. Map of Wagon Routes by Simpson. (click on image for a PDF version)

The original Chorpenning trail went south and west from Blackrock to where the salt-mud desert could be traversed. The trail then turned north to Fish Springs and passed Devil's Hole, a local landmark (See Figure 2). Later a better route was constructed across the flats on much the same route as the present road. This new route was used by the Express, stage and telegraph. From Fish Springs the Express rider would go over the pass just southwest of the station site, making the distance to Boyd's Station about nine miles. The stage freight, telegraph and Express (in bad weather) went around the north end of the Fish Springs Range making the trip about 14 miles. Through the years, Fish Springs, being about half-way between Rush Valley and Deep Creek, became a very prominent stop (See Photos 30 - 32). In the latter part of the Nineteenth Century, John Thomas established a ranch near the station site and continued to serve the public. [46] The Thomas Ranch buildings were torn down in the 1930's and today only a foundation remains to mark the location of the ranch house. The site is located on the Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge.

Photo 30. Early photo of Fish Springs Station; looking west (from the Charles Kelly collection, Utah State Historical Society).

Photo 31. Fish Springs Station about 1919. Photograph of John Thomas and Averett families (from the Charles Kelly collection, Utah State Historical Society).

Photo 32. Backside photo of Fish Springs Station; looking northeast (from the Charles Kelly collection, Utah State Historical Society).

Boyd (Butte, Desert)
Utah No. 22 Non-contract Station


Location: SE1/4SE1/4 Section 20 Township 11 South, Range 15 West, Salt Lake Meridian.

Fourteen miles from Fish Springs Station, via a road around the north end of the Fish Springs Range and nine miles over the pass to the west of the station.

Although Boyd Station is not identified in the 1861 mail contract, it was named by Howard Egan as an Express Station. The structure was small, built of stone and contained gun-ports. [47]

Boyd Station survives as one of the best preserved Express Stations in Utah (See Photo 33). This preservation is probably due to the fact that Bid Boyd, station master, continued to occupy the site into the current century. [48]

Photo 33. Boyd Station (BLM photo 1978).

Limited excavations and structural stabilization were undertaken at the site in 1974 and 1975. The site is interpreted on the ground by the Bureau of Land Management.

At this juncture the Express diverted from the old Chorpenning trail and headed straight west to Callao and Willow Springs Station. Chorpenning had gone south into Pleasant Valley and then around the south end of the Deep Creek Mountains (See Figure 2).

Willow Springs
Utah No. 23 Contract Station


Location: NW1/4SW1/4 Section 6 Township 11 South, Range 16 West, Salt Lake Meridian.

Eight miles from Boyd Station.

A great deal of controversy has arisen over the location of the Willow Springs Station. Descriptions given by Nick Wilson (an Express rider) and Sir Richard Burton do not describe the location of the place now claimed to be the station site. A foundation (Figure 27), identified tentatively by the authors as dating to the proper period and similar to the structure depicted in the sketch from an 1868 photograph (Figure 28), has been found at the spot where an 1882 survey plat locates the Willow Springs Stable. This structure, located on the Dorcey Sabey property, is approximately 100 feet northeast of F. J. Kearney's boarding house (still standing, see Figure 29 and Photos 34 and 35). This facility is about 3/4 mile east of the structure popularly known as the station house. Further archaeological investigations are necessary to establish the true location of the station.

Figure 27. Willow Springs.

Figure 28. Engraving of an 1868 photograph showing Willow Springs Station from a position north of the Kearney Hotel.

Figure 29. Willow Springs T. 11 S., R. 16 W. Sec. 6 1882 Survey. (click on image for a PDF version)

Photo 34. F. J. Kearney boarding house (BLM photo 1978).

Photo 35. Site of Willow Springs Pony Express Station; looking south. The Kearney Boarding house is located in the trees to the west (BLM photo 1977).

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Last Updated: 18-Jan-2008